Shrimp and okra gumbo

Matt Tebbutt whips up an authentic taste of New Orleans with this classic Creole dish
By Matt Tebbutt
Shrimp and okra gumbo
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour marinating
  • Effort: easy


For the marinade

  • pinches paprika
  • pinches garlic powder
  • pinches salt
  • pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • pinches dried thyme
  • pinches onion powder
  • pinches cayenne pepper
  • pinches dried basil

For the gumbo

  • 1 kg prawns or crayfish, peeled, veins removed, heads and shells reserved
  • 1 litres chicken or fish stock
  • 160 ml oil
  • 65 g plain flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 500 g okra, trimmed and sliced in three
  • 1 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 500 g mussels, cleaned, beards removed
  • ½ tsp hot sauce, or to taste
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • ½ bunches spring onions, chopped


1. For the marinade: place all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.

2. For the gumbo: add the prawns to the marinade, mixing well to coat. Set aside to marinate for one hour in the fridge.

3. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil with the reserved prawn shells and heads and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until reduced and intense in flavour. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down on the shells and heads to extract the most flavour, then set the stock aside.

4. In a heavy-based pan, heat the oil and flour together over a low heat, stirring continuously, for 10-20 minutes, or until the mixture is very dark in colour. Do not let the mixture burn.

5. Stir in the garlic, onion and celery and peppers and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the bay leaf, thyme, oregano, allspice and cayenne pepper. Stir in the okra and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes.

6. Pour in the stock, then add the marinated prawns and the mussels and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through and all the mussels have opened (discard any that remain shut). Season to taste with the hot sauce and lemon juice.

7. To serve, ladle the gumbo into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped spring onions.

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